CHP’s Ankara candidate vows to defend votes as police crack down on protest

1st April 2014 – ore than two days have passed since the end of the March 30 elections, but tension over counting and the victors remains latent, with anger over alleged electoral fraud in Ankara spreading to points around the country. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appealed to district election boards of Ankaraover irregularities in the local mayoral elections in which the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) incumbent won a narrow victory.

“We will not let any votes of the people of Ankara be wasted. We’ll follow the votes given for us until the end,” Mansur Yavaş, the CHP candidate for Ankara mayor, said in a press conference Apr. 1 noting that his party did not believe the election was fair. Apart from Ankara, the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) appealed the votes in three provinces, Iğdır, Kastamonu and Kütahya, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) appealed for a recount of votes in Istanbul’s Kartal district. The main opposition party also demanded a recount in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district.

In Ankara, some votes given to the CHP were included in the records of the ballot boxes of other parties, while some CHP votes were not recorded at ballot boxes, Mansur said, adding that around 12,000 ballot boxes were being examined one by one with the help of at least 500 600 young volunteers.

Continues: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/police-use-water-cannons-as-protesters-denounce-vote-rigging-allegations-in-ankara-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64391&NewsCatID=338

Turkey moves to block YouTube access after ‘audio leak’

27th March 2014 – Turkey has moved to block access to YouTube, a day after a court ordered the suspension of a ban on Twitter, which PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed. The telecoms authority (TIB) said it had taken an “administrative measure” against the site but another report suggests that talks are under way. Some users found access blocked while others could still use the site. Earlier, what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube.

It relates to a discussion of possible military operations in Syria, which was apparently attended by Turkey’s intelligence chief, its foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces. Reuters news agency, which examined the recording, said it could not verify its authenticity but it was potentially the most damaging purported leak so far as it appeared to have originated from the bugging of a highly confidential and sensitive conversation. Mr Erdogan, who faces important local elections on Sunday, accuses social media of spreading misinformation and suggested earlier that bans could be applied to both YouTube and Facebook. At a rally this week, Mr Erdogan was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: “I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies there.” On Wednesday, a court in the capital, Ankara, ordered the TIB to lift its ban on Twitter, but it could be weeks before the order takes effect. Twitter itself has filed a challenge to the access ban. It said it was concerned about a court order to suspend an account which accused a former minister of corruption.

 

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26773702

 

 

Turkey’s Erdogan again threatens to ban social media

20th March 2014 –  (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday repeated his threat to close down social media platforms including Twitter in Turkey and said he did not care about the potential backlash from the international community.

“We will wipe out all of these,” Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a rally in the northwestern province of Bursa.

“The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is,” he said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

From: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/20/us-turkey-erdogan-twitter-idUSBREA2J1L520140320

The Sick man of Turkey

16th March 2014 – By . The Turkish Medical Association (TTB, or “Türk Tabipleri Birliği” in Turkish) released a statement Saturday passing considerable judgment on PM’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s controversial reactions over the past year. For those familiar with events since the start of the nationwide anti-government protests of 2013, the 60-year-old independent trade union — covering 80% of Turkey’s medical professionals, & recognized by the World Medical Assoc. — just questioned the mental health of the Turkish prime minister. The full English translation of their 15 March press release reads as follows:

WE ARE WORRIED ABOUT PRIME MINISTER ERDOĞAN’S EMOTIONAL STATE!
“The interest lobby provoked the Gezi events.”
“They drunk alcohol in the Dolmabahçe Mosque.”
“They attacked my headscarved sisters.”

We, as doctors, have been watching with anxiety the polarisation, the marginalisation, and divisive rhetoric Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been using since the Gezi resistance. We were terrified when we listened to what he said about Berkin Elvan at the Gaziantep election rally yesterday. Normally, nobody would try to steer two families who lost their children against each other. Normally, nobody would declare a child aged fifteen who was hit in the head [with a teargas canister] by the police on his way to buy bread and who died after fighting for his life for 269 days, a terrorist. Normally, nobody would distort the truth about marbles put in a child’s grave and call them “steel balls.” Normally, nobody would get a mother — who lost her child only two days ago — booed at an election rally. We are doctors. We know about thousands of different states of mind and the emotional states of a human being. We are worried about Prime Minister Erdoğan’s emotional state. We are extremely worried. We are worried for him, for the people around him, and for our country. We are sharing our concern with the public. – The Central Committee of the Turkish Medical Association
In other words, (if the EU or U.S. are watching) the most authoritative medical body in the land just affirmed what at least 50% of Turkey already believes: that the emperor has no clothes.

From: http://istanbuldispatches.com/2014/03/16/the-sick-man-of-turkey/

The End of Erdogan

16th March 2014 – By Henri J. Barkey. It is hard to imagine how in any society a Prime Minister caught on tape firing journalists because he does not like their point of view or instructing television stations to stop the broadcasting of an opposition leader’s speech in parliament could survive. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of corruption allegations that have been leveled at this particular PM’s ministers, their families, and most critically at him and his own son.

Welcome to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. While he’s indirectly conceded the interference with the freedom of the press, the Prime Minister and his stalwarts have engaged in a scorched-earth strategy of blaming a vast conspiracy for the attacks against him. Never mind that ministers have lost their jobs and their sons have been arrested (along with a state-owned bank CEO). Never mind the millions of dollars worth of cash found in houses owned by all these figures, or the taped conversations leaked to the public, mainly through social media outlets, revealing that judicial investigations have been ongoing for sometime. Forget all that: It is not the alleged thieves, crooks, and their enablers who are at fault, but the accusers. So goes the logic in Erdogan’s Turkey. There’s nothing wrong with having millions of dollars and euros stashed at your home or office or elsewhere, and sweetheart deals with shady businessmen are perfectly okay. It’s questioning these practices that is the real threat to the nation.

At the heart of the conspiracy, it is claimed, is a “parallel state” led by Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric who sought refuge in the United States in 1999 when he was persecuted by the then-dominant Turkish military establishment. Gulen and Erdogan had earlier formed an alliance against this common enemy. But now, with the military forced back into its barracks, they have turned on each other. For Erdogan and his supporters this vast conspiracy, instigated by Gulen and his presumed followers in the judiciary and the police force, is aided and abetted by a slew of villains. These include, Americans, Jews, Israel, Germans, neocons, CNN, Financial Times, a variety of international and domestic banks, the Council on Foreign Relations. Even the Queen of England, if you can believe it, has nothing better to do with her time than plot the downfall of the Turkish Prime Minister and his supporters. Why, exactly, would all these people have it in for Erdogan? It’s a mystery, of course.

But let’s set aside these fantasies, at long last. The truth is that Erdogan is the principal and lead actor in his own demise. As good a politician he has been up to recent times, these allegations somehow caught him by surprise. He has been the unchallenged leader of Turkey for a decade. No one has dared cross him, and no one has figured out how to beat him. The opposition has been weak, and the resources he has marshaled have enabled him and his party, the Justice and Development Party, AKP, to build a formidable patronage network that encompasses a vast segment of the Turkish press, business groups, lots of NGOs, think tanks, and segments of the bureaucracy. The money that he and his family members have allegedly collected has not merely gone toward self-enrichment, but also toward financing and building a monumental network of individuals and organizations whose only loyalty is to Erdogan.

Continuous: http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/03/13/the-end-of-erdogan/

Turkey’s former EU minister calls funeral attendees necrophiliacs

Turkey’s former chief negotiator and EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış called those who went to the funeral of Berkin Elvan, a teenage boy who died after nine months in a coma as a result of being hit in the head by a tear gas canister during the Gezi Park protests last year, necrophiliacs, a comment that has drawn wide denunciation and vehement criticism.

“Those necrophiliacs who are uncomfortable with the end of terrorism, our brotherhood [with Kurds] and who are targeting the settlement process [to end the three-decades-old Kurdish dispute and armed conflict] will get their response from voters on March 30 [the day of local elections],” Bağış tweeted on Wednesday, as thousands of people flocked to İstanbul’s Şişli district to pay their final respects to Berkin at the funeral ceremony.

His tweet exploded on social media and has drawn the ire of thousands with vehement criticism flooding websites and Twitter.

The tweet was deleted following the harsh reaction.

 

12 March 2014 /İSTANBUL, TODAY’S ZAMAN